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Away We Go…

We’re leaving tomorrow. The boat, as fortuitous a free pit stop as it has been for the past five weeks for us, has become confining and claustrophobic. We started getting cabin fever about a week ago but delayed departure because we were hoping to hang in there and save some cash.

However, that approach has never worked and quite possibly, will never work because we have learnt the hard way that when we force ourselves to stay in a place we no longer want to be at, we only end up making ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally sick.

We spend more money on distractions like snacks, and we eat more, which makes us more sick from eating beyond our bodies natural needs.

Here on the boat, where going ashore meant spending precious extra money for fuel for the tinny, we ended up trying to stay on the boat for days. Confined to a cabin space that’s 2 metres long, 2 metres wide and just over 1.5 metres high, in which 75% of the space is taken up by the two single bunk beds on either side, we grew tense, moody and lethargic.

The boat has a relatively large deck up top, however it has been blowing almost every day of our stay here and sitting in constant strong wind is extremely exhausting. You literally feel like you’ve been blown to bits after a couple of days.

During this trip, we basically went with the flow of our intuition. We learnt very quickly that following our intuition leads to good things, and not following our intuition leads to not-so-good situations. Once again, the logic-less path was the way to go, for we were rarely able to consciously articulate why we decided to go one way or the next, until we arrived there and learnt why.

We are also fortunate in that we are incredibly in sync with one another, and are thus able to move to the same flow, instead of conflicting. Most of the time, one will say something like, “I feel like we should…” and the other will reply, “I was just about to say exactly the same thing!” It’s a blessing I give thanks for every day.

We felt the intuitive call to move on two weeks ago. I like to say that we receive an ‘early warning’ and then we have an indeterminate ‘grace period’ in which we have time and space to be flexible about following the call. Once the grace period is past, however, stronger and more unpleasant signals tend to start, saying, “Time’s up!”

I personally believe that this rule of thumb is pretty universal for everyone, however, not everyone’s learnt to detect intuitive signals, much less how to understand and interpret them. And we’re definitely not taught to obey them! Quite to the contrary in fact!

Today, we woke up to yet another shitty morning and we both knew this was it. This was as much as we could take. Though neither of us said anything.

Then Colin suggested tossing a coin. I dug around for one and came back up with a $2 gold coin and he laughed. “That’s exactly the coin I wanted because there’s two of us.”

“So heads for go and tails for stay?” I asked. He nodded and in one swift motion flipped the coin. In that moment, I felt myself saying, “Heads heads heads heads HEADS…” The coin landed head-side up and we both grinned with relief. We’d both wanted it to be heads. No idea why we even bothered with the coin toss in that case, but I guess sometimes you just want something tangible to pin your decisions on.

Then the next question was, “Where to?” We had no specific idea, only the sense that we should head north. That is no light decision for we only have a tent, not a caravan, and the wet season approaches, with the first serious rains to start around October. Laura, Cape Tribulation, Home Rule… those were just a couple of places that came up in our heads. We were just following the feeling.

We started packing up. Didn’t take long. We have so little possessions that we were done in practically under an hour. We ferried the unessential items for the night over to the Mourilyan Harbour car park where our ute is parked, and dropped by the local shop to let a friend of the boat’s owner know that we were on our way.

Tomorrow, we leave at first light.

This time, I leave with the extra knowledge of the experience of the past two months.

When I first started on this journey, I’d never done anything like this before. I’d known that I wanted to try to live as simply as possible but “simple” is relative to what you are used to and I think such a thing needs to be approached in stages. Well, I did anyway, without even intending to.

What I learned as the weeks passed is that I needed less and less of what I thought I did when I started out.

Now, I have a chance to start again and try again with the new benchmark that I’ve learnt and I’m eager for our first stop-over at our storage shed tomorrow, where we will be sifting through our belongings with ever more precision and storing away the unessentials for when we decide to “settle down” again.

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Joy…

One thing that this trip has definitely taught me is joy and appreciation of the smallest and simplest things.

During these past two months of driving through the outback of western Queensland, we camped at many national parks that didn’t have any shower facilities. So we just went without showers for a week at a time, relying only on nightly wipe downs with a damp cloth.

I’m not sure if we stank but seeing as we avoided people most of the time anyway, I doubt it mattered! We definitely couldn’t tell!

At the end of each week, we would check into the nearest caravan park to partake of their shower and laundry facilities for a night or two.

Oh the sheer delight of having a hot shower, after you’ve been doing without for days, is indescribable. Even if it had to be a very brief hot shower, as we had to be very careful of water usage in the outback. Some places enforced time limits on hot water usage.

That joy with the little things has carried over till now.

There’s no hot shower on this boat. We are lucky that the coast guard here at the Mourilyan Harbour maintain a gold coin donation hot shower facility. It is a simple facility, nothing fancy. The toilet paper is damp. The light bulb hasn’t worked in days. It’s pitch black dark in there when you close the door in broad daylight. There’s no place to put your things, only a row of small hooks. But to me now? It’s got a shower head and hot water. Fit for a king. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

We potter ashore in the tinny once every other day for a hot shower and it is as delightful as ever.

There are other things too.

Shelter from the elements. Sunrises and sunsets. The pleasure of being on the open road with the wind in our hair. Spotting a white-bellied sea eagle or eastern osprey together and sharing the binoculars to observe the eastern osprey return to its nest with fish to feed its growing chicks.

I must admit that all this is made all the more delightful for having someone akin in spirit to myself to share it with. It wouldn’t have been the same otherwise.

Simply being with ‘another person’ or ‘others’ or ‘people’ is not the same. I find that delight is amplified only when individuals share a common ideology and strive to live to the same principles. Otherwise there is the most unpleasant clash of ideas and thoughts that diminishes the pleasure and detracts from the moment.

We drove to Bingil Bay and Mission Beach the other day. We stopped at Woolworths and bought ourselves crackers, cheese, salami and lemonade. We pulled up at the start of the Bicton Hill circuit track of Clump Mountain National Park for a picnic.

We forgot to bring cutlery and only had my little multi-tool kit. The blade was… “Blunter than the head of my ****,” exclaimed Colin. So we hacked at the cheese and sawed through the salami and massacred the lot. We piled the carnage on our crackers and had a jolly good time laughing at our silliness.

Afterwards we decided to go exploring on the rocky beach. The waters were receding to an epic low tide that was due to turn in two hours and we spent that time simply marvelling at all the multi-coloured rocks, corals and living creatures exposed in the sun. I wanted to see a blue-ringed octopus and Colin didn’t. We skipped from rock to boulder, giggling as we wobbled from loose rock to boulder.

We were like kids in a candy store, picking up colourful rock after colourful rock, then putting them all back exactly where we picked them up from. We watched a tiny hermit crab get rolled around like a little beach ball by the waves.

As soon as the tide was due to turn, we strolled back to the car and took a hearty swig of lemonade. It was still cold and oh so refreshing.

I should be feeling guilty. I should be thinking, I’m wasting all this time, I’m not being productive or responsible. I should be worried about my finances, my future.

Yet my question is, “Why should I be?” I believe it is the other way around. I believe it is those who are trapped in the unending self-destructive maya {illusion} of the modern world who should be asking themselves the question, “Why am I suffering? Is my suffering real? Is it an essential reality? Or a created reality? What is real? And what is not? What do I choose? What have I created? Why do I suffer?”

I have found joy in the little things and the more I follow this path, the more I realise that my heart has always been correct. The path I took before was wrong. The path of the material is not mine. I-am-not-that. I find a life lived closer to the natural world, with simple wants and simple needs, to be the life that I choose and know to be right for myself.

My joy tells me so.

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Dreams…

The sun is setting behind the hills, casting a warm glow all around. The bright verdant green of day mellows and stark white trunks transform into palettes of rose and purple.

I am up on the deck of the boat, savouring the silence. Not that it is silent. The friar bird is doing his vocal scales. He practices every evening without fail. The welcome swallows chirp and chatter around me as they dive and swerve around the boat, skimming the water’s surface in a dance of play. More unidentified birds call from the treetops that I have not yet learned. It is a joyous cacophony, pleasant and peaceful.

I sit and marvel at my inner peace. Since embarking on this trip, I have felt this more and more.

I am at my happiest when alone out in the bush, surrounded only by the natural denizens of the wild. The only company I keep is Colin and he has been my rock and joy.

Away from people. Away from the chaotic demands and expectations of modern life. Income. Career. Success. Even purpose.

At first, I was confused. Was I lazy? An escapist? In denial? Deluded? Jaded?

This is not asked as the opinions of others, but rather as my own understanding of my self. I have to make up my own damn mind about who and what I am to be. Or what I am.

I’ve had ample time to ponder the seemingly disastrous trajectory of my life. Until I realised that it was not disastrous. It was a matter of fact. It was bound to happen. Because I was never being true to what I truly wanted.

I was only a young child when I first stated aloud that I was born into the wrong time, wrong country, wrong culture. I was very confident of that. I had no evidence. My parents probably dismissed my ramblings as the fantastic delusions of a child desiring to escape responsibility and duty.

I was only a young child when one day I looked up yet again to see my father come home after another long day at the office. He used to leave the house at seven in the morning, and come home at seven in the evening. I watched him and silently in my head I said, “Is this life? Is this what I’m going to grow up to be? A robot? Trapped and bound to a job eight to twelve hours a day and having no time for my own pursuits except for evenings and weekends?” It made no sense to me. Life was for senseless suffering, it appeared. Life was entrapment.

I hated school But I hated growing up more. I hated school with a passion but I was also extremely conscious of the fact that after having spent over a decade in school, I knew its rules well. I hated it but I could survive in it because I knew my place.

I knew adulthood was not going to be as easy.

I approached my twentieth year with much trepidation. I hated the fact that soon I would have to get a job. Work like everyone else. What made it worse was that I didn’t even know what job I could do, much less wanted to do. I still don’t! I’ve never fitted into this work life society, where everyone has their place in the robotic work mill of conformity.

I tried nonetheless. I had no choice. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to flee to.

It shouldn’t have been such a mystery but now I can easily see how depression and suicide ideation has dogged my every waking moment since I was a teen.

I disagree with everything that comprises and drives modern life. Even entrepreneurship, which I dedicated nearly seven years of my life to pursuing, in the hopes that I could create a life for myself that would meet both my requirements and the requirements of society. To fit in, if only marginally. To be half-and-half. To try to be true to myself while placating the expectations of modern culture.

I cannot. I have tried and have only received despair, hopelessness and ostracism as a result. No one can be half-and-half and be authentic at the same time. No one can fully perfect trying to blend into a culture you inherently reject.

Some may accuse me of not trying hard enough but I say judge not until you have walked a mile, or a hundred, in another’s shoes. Some may say I am delusional, or that I’m choosing a negative mindset but knowing that you are different and do not fit in is not negativity. It is reality. And ultimately, honest pragmatism.

Yet others may say that I should try harder to change. Why should I try to change who I am? I’ve tried for over three decades and it has brought me nothing but hell. Why should I try even harder to be something I want not?

I’m no longer afraid of being different. Of being alone and away from people. I have few friends and like it that way. I rarely enjoy human company. I would rather have animals and plants as friends.

I have never been happy around people. Since I was a child, I referred to people as “humans”. I do try to remember not to these days. It elicits startled and confounded looks. I understand. After all I look human, right? Well, I look it but I sure don’t know how to get it. Modern humanity anyway.

The desires of humanity confound me. The content of conversation and media baffle me. Humanity claims to be the most intelligent species but honestly, anyone looking in from the outside will say that if we are intelligent, surely it is intelligence towards destruction, of ourselves and everything within our reach! We are intelligent enough to speak but all we do is twist words and lie to one another and even ourselves.

I do not and cannot absolve myself of the same. For I have been brought up the same way. I surely had perfected the art of lying to myself for years and years. I use products too that come in plastic containers. I do buy food from massive corporations like Coles and Woolworths. I get about in a car that burns fossil fuels. And I ask why. And I ask how.

Not for humanity, no, but for myself. I understand how I came to be this way. Now I want to know what I can do to slowly disentangle myself from this way of life, if it is at all possible. And if so, how?

I know now what I want and it is to return to land. The basics. David Suelo has done it. So have some others. I’m not claiming that I’ll be able to. I’m not even claiming that I’m going to go moneyless, just because I mention Suelo.

But his decisions regarding money and lifestyle has given me food for thought, and has made me wonder if and how I may create for myself a life that is true to my own principles, as he has to his, even as I am constantly discovering, or rediscovering in many cases, what my principles are at all.

I have never felt as at peace. With myself, my choices to date and life in general. In this state, I know no anger for I understand now my anger to be a helplessness against the falseness I felt forced to live. The conformity I felt I had to endure because it was the “right” thing to do. The right thing by society’s standards. Definitely not the right thing for me, my health, heart and soul.

I’m going rogue and I’m fearing and loving it all at once. This road may lead me to places of great trial and suffering. But I know I can no longer turn back. I can no longer return to the life I led. No, not life. It was not a life that I had. It was an undeath. A pretence of life, crafted around falsities and illogical desires of success and material possession. Social standing even.

When I was a teen, I read deeply of Siddharta Gautama’s life. I read the words of mystics of ages long past. And I always felt a calling in that direction. A giving up of attachments. If I were able to articulate it then, I would have replied, “Mystic,” to anyone that asked, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” For mysticism is freedom.

I read of the lives of native peoples like the First Nations of the Americas and the Aboriginal peoples of Australia and alway felt more in common with that than modern life.

Now I am rediscovering my true dreams from my childhood. For years, I’d been speaking of freedom. Now I finally understand what I even meant. Freedom was the word I chose to represent that wordless calling within. Now I remember what the calling was. Sort of. Kind of. It will always be vague because it is always an unfolding. A discovery. A creation.

I am learning how to choose and live a balance between the gifts and ills of modern life, and the principles of the old ways of living.

The sun has set. I’m surrounded in darkness. I’m giving thanks for the modern invention of insect repellent for the wind has died and the sandflies are here in full force. Cicadas hum in the trees now. The birds have gone to sleep. The water is still and black as ink, broken by the occasional vigorous splash of a fish.

Not far away, the unending hum of machinery drifts across the water from the harbour, where tonnes of sugar await transportation in the next tanker to arrive. We have seen two huge tankers come and go already. Men appear as gnats upon their decks. The sugar they can hold and transport, inconceivable. I have sugar in my mug of hot chocolate that I am sipping right now.

Modern conveniences and delights are an addiction that will not be so easily given up, methinks.

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Life…

Two months and two weeks ago, another chapter of my life came to a close and a new one began.

I no longer claim to know where I am going, for in truth, I know not. All I know is that I have to follow the silent, wordless, modern-human-logic-less siren call and song of my heart.

I now know that the call of the soul is not a directionless call. The unknown depths of the mind-heart-spirit tirelessly collects and processes all our thoughts, hopes, wants and dreams and filters out the false and emphasizes truthful alignment.

It is that purified call to alignment, I now believe, that comprises the call of the spirit. It is not something that human logic can understand, much less articulate even to ourselves. For I have observed that many of the things-of-alignment that happen, often make little to no sense to us in the moment itself, until much time has passed and we are granted the gift of perspective from afar.

Three months ago, I was in Melbourne, and I was in misery. It was not so much the cold that got to me, though that was what I claimed aloud to those who asked. No, cold was the simple answer, the convenient untruth. For many are not interested to hear the truth of the deep revelations that guide and tug at my seemingly directionless life.

I saw “modern civilisation” in Melbourne and it scarred me. It is everything I am not. It represents everything my principles cannot accept. I saw wanton wanting, material obsessions and endless unhappiness and misery to those ends.

I see life as a series of… abandonments, not as collections. I see life as a process of deciding what-is-I and what-is-not-I and dropping and leaving the former and claiming and embracing the latter with ever more determined clarity. Even if it may be controversial. Even if it goes against the norm.

Life is a series of puzzles, I believe. From deep and early childhood, yes indeed, all the way to one’s present day, our siren soul is calling, calling, presenting to us pieces of the puzzle that stand out like strident calls. “Look at me! You-are-I-am! I-am-you! See me! Hear me!” But it makes no sense to us! It doesn’t make any sense!

Ah, now there is the clue itself. Like The Doctor says, “We asked the wrong question.” The question should not have been, “What is the answer?” It should have been, “Why does it not make any sense?” For we are responsible.

I never made any sense of the many, many puzzle pieces that came to my hand over the years for I was in two-halves. I was not I. I was many and the many were false. They were fake and I did not know it. For they guided my hand and blinded my senses. I thought I knew what was true and I did not. I had not dropped my illusions yet. In all probability, I will be saying that till my dying day!

So now I sit on a boat on the waters of Mourilyan Harbour awaiting where this journey will take me to next. We have reached a minor pitstop and the time has come for yet another decision to make. Where do we go from here? What do we do? What will be our truth now? Where is the most authentic step to make?

I think with my heart and the heart does not think like the brain, the mind. It does not think in steps. It does not think in logic, though in truth, the logic-less of the heart makes far more logical sense in the long-term than the short-term human-programmed ideals of logic ever does!

I wait. I “think”.

And in the meantime, I give thanks for the moments that pass me by.

Another raft of mangrove leaves rushing out to see… the endless possibilities of the ocean. The Brahminy Kite, as it soars above the rafts, looking for its fish. The Welcome Swallows that daily come by our toilet to check if it is prime real estate for moving in and building its nest in the shelving. The wind that blows…

Life.